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Roadtripping: On the Move with the Buffalo Gals [Paperback]

Conni Massing
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2010

Roadtripping documents a decade of road trips through the fiefdom of Alberta. The men and women who make up the Buffalo Gals first set out in July 1999 to experience the unusual and charming roadside attractions of south-central Alberta. Never dreaming that this one-off adventure would turn into an annual event, it's ten years later and they continue their escapades. Each year a new destination is chosen and the weekend-long travel begins. Traditions have evolved including elaborate scrapbooking, eating in gourmet dining rooms (when available) and excessive snacking (without fail). Beyond the joys and challenges of being on the road and a deepening bond of friendship, this book is a love poem to Alberta, a province often misunderstood and mislabelled as being the right-wing cowboy haunt of Canada.

With trip route maps, hilarious photos, and appendices including checklists and recipes, Roadtripping explores the bizarre and wonderful attractions of wild rose country, stuffed gophers, political fanaticism, mad cows and more.


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Product Description

Quill & Quire

Every summer for the past 10 years, Conni Massing and a gaggle of her theatre friends have embarked on raucous road trips throughout their home province of Alberta. Road Tripping: On the Move with the Buffalo Gals (not all of whom are gals, by the way) is Massing’s funny, compelling, and educational account of these trips. Massing’s book may even inspire a bit of envy on the part of her readers. How can people have so much fun, one wonders, with so little? How do people make a pit stop for beef jerky an adventure?

Some of the trips follow themes, such as the Intolerance Tour (which includes a visit to the high school where James Keegstra taught that the Holocaust never happened) and the World’s Biggest (which includes a visit to a vaguely obscene giant perogy). But the trips aren’t all so focused: one takes the Gals to a museum that features 41 dioramas of stuffed gophers depicting small-town Alberta life. Much hilarity ensues.

Massing, an established playwright and screenwriter, has received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, and has been recognized by the Betty Mitchell Theatre Awards and the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Theatre Awards. Her political bent is to the left and she is at home in the city, surrounded by artsy types. The Gals often appear like fish out of water in rural and small-town Alberta, but Massing does not poke fun at Albertans and their twin religions of Conservatism and beef. Instead, she represents Alberta honestly and without derision.

Even when getting a really good chuckle out of a situation, her genuine love for the people and places of Alberta is evident. The Gals attend an outdoor Passion Play in the Badlands, and none of them mock the religiosity of the event. Each pokey little town is complimented and every nutty enterprise is enjoyed in the spirit in which it was intended. How nutty are the enterprises? There is a UFO landing pad in the town of Vulcan and a creationism museum depicting a child cavorting with a dinosaur.

When the Gals find themselves accidentally crossing a provincial border, they do indulge in a little daydreaming about what life would be like in arts-friendlier Saskatchewan. But even though Massing may sometimes feel like a stranger in a strange land, Road Tripping, her love letter to her home province, is both funny and inspiring.

Review

A humour-fuelled travelogue. —Westworld

(2011-01-05)

Albertans or non-Albertans who read this travel memoir will learn something they never knew about the province, feel a little envious toward the Buffalo Gals . . . and, quite possibly, be left with a strange craving for beef jerky. —Canadian Geographic

(2010-07-01)

Conni Massing, an award-winning Edmonton playwright who has fearlessly launched herself into non-fiction with a travel memoir. —The Edmonton Journal

(2010-04-01)

Roadtripping, [Massing's] love letter to her home province, is both funny and inspiring. —Quill & Quire

(2010-01-05)

Steven Beattie, reviews editor of . . . Quill & Quire, notes that books about the road life tend to be a natural fit for travellers. Roadtripping in included on Beattie's list of suggestions.—Special to the Globe & Mail

(2010-01-05)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High-spirited fun Nov. 4 2010
Format:Paperback
I happened to see Conni Massing do a reading from this book at Wordfest in Calgary and I laughed so much that I just had to buy the book. It did not disappoint. For ten years now, Conni and The Buffalo Gals (which include several male "gals" - a tip-off to their quirky sense of humor) have done a weekend road trip every summer to various locations in Alberta. Understand that we're not talking Banff or your usual touristy locations. Oh, no. We're talking things like the Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington and the World's Largest Pyrogie in Glendon. The book is a fun romp and, no, I'm not Conni or one of the Gals. But I like them alot and think you might, too.
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